Saturday, July 30, 2011

The lower body ROM workout is now a doddle.

A moment of silence please... I just kicked the Lower-Body ROM exercise squarely in the nuts. I blasted all four minutes at 210 pounds of resistance and scored 121% on the meter.

What is the significance of this moment?

The last time I rode that horse, the year was 2009. On that occasion, it ripped a chunk of cartilage out of my right knee that set me flat on my back on the surgery table. This is how I was introduced to Dr. Evan Bachner. Favoring the right knee blew out the left knee, which put me back on the surgical table less than 4 weeks later. Bachner pulled chunks of bone out of my left knee.

My last ROM ride was the beginning of sorrows for me. My body weight spiraled up due to immobility and post surgical pain. Higher weight made it hard to exercise, exercise made the pain worse, which made me more immobile, which made me gain more weight. I was caught in a vicious negative feedback loop.

As you know, this vicious cycle was only broken by a visit to Providence St. Joseph Hospital and full Roux en Y gastric bypass. This was my most dangerous surgery every. Understand that this is nowhere near as simple as pulling a chunk of torn cartilage out of a knee. They open your torso and repipe your guts. Not everybody survives this surgery. I am a member of the good and lucky majority.

As you might imagine, getting back on that horse and doing that Lower-Body ROM exercise has represented one of my greatest fears in life. There have been many times in the past two years when I wondered why I ever spent $6,000 on a $16,000 machine that cost me more than $10,000 in flesh, blood & tears.

Of course, the vicious scorpion at work has chided me about this subject...

Well guess what? I just got up on that horse and rode it again. It was a doddle. I wasn't even breathing hard until 3:15 had already expired. I didn't sweat profusely until a minute or two afterward. For some 10 minutes afterward, I kept checking and rechecking my range of motion for any signs of inflammation in my right knee. There is no inflammation in my right knee, and it is now an hour later.

You can see the exercise here. This constitutes a major, major victory. This is almost like killing Osama.

Compared to the upper body workout, the lower body workout is trivial. This was never the case in the past. I could never do 4 whole minutes, period. I had to break it into 2 minute segments. Now it is easy. I guess losing something like 100 pounds makes a difference.

If there is a greater lesson in this story, I guess it this: You never know where providence will take you. I probably would never have conquered my weight problems without Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. Given my good blood chemistry and my heart health, my insurance never would have approved this surgery. It was only a series of letters from Bachner, my GP and Dr. Quilici regarding my orthopedic problems that caused United Health Care to approve the surgery.

Now I have reversed the aging process by 15 years at the very least, and still counting. I am stronger and healthier now than I was at 30... not to mention better looking. I'm not into cosmetics, though.

Lately, I have been wondering how much longer I may live as a result of this surgery. Of course, you can die in a car wreck at any moment, but presuming I don't, how much longer will I live? The starving mouse studies suggest I should double my lifespan. That's no joke folks. Google Roy Walford and CRON.

Popular Science magazine just published a piece called "Why you will live to be 150". They are talking about everybody, not just us starving mice who have had Roux-en-Y. Google search for Dr. Bill Andrews, Geron, and Telomerase. He is working on the cure for aging.

The men and women in my Dad's family live a very long time. Grandpa kick off at 93. Grandma kicked the bucket at 95. My dad is 69, has kicked prostate cancer in the ass twice, and doesn't quite look 60. Nobody believes I am going to turn 45.

God, I have no clue how long I will live, but I can see no reason why I shouldn't make it to 90. Frankly, I should reach 100.

Just to close the loop for you, I would not be thinking these thoughts if the ROM hadn't ripped a chunk of cartilage out of my right knee one dark day in early October of 2009. Isn't strange how this event became the next best thing to a guarantee that I will make it to 100 years of age?

218.2 on the Tanita: Another major milestone has fallen.

Just a few moments ago, I weighed in at 218.2 on the Tanita bathroom scale. Of course, this means the Bod-Pod will have me at 217.35 this morning. This means I have lost another 3.85 pounds since the last Bod Pod test. At the same time, I know I am more muscular now than a week ago. The shift in emphasis to strength and intensity over duration of aerobic exercise is paying dividends.

Call me foolish, call me irresponsible, call me a dreamer, but there is something a little bit magical about dropping inside 220 pounds. This is another one of those mythical boundary points in sports. In football, a guy who drops from 300 to 250 has gone from lineman weight to linebacker weight. A guy who drops from 250 to 218 has dropped from linebacker weight to Safety weight. In baseball, a guy who weighs over 220 might be considered fat; a guy weighs under 220 generally isn't considered fat.

There aren't many big safeties like Darren Woodson or Steve Atwater left in the NFL, and this is a shame. However, I now weigh less than either of these two legendary defenders at their peak playing weights. My body fat percentage remains a lot higher than their's was, and they are both taller than I am.

Still, you would be hard-pressed to believe that I weighed in at 330 pounds just 6.5 months ago. At least two people I've met in the past several weeks ain't buying my story. They think I am bullshiting them.

I once predicted that the 215 pound-point would be moment when people no longer viewed me as an endo-mesomorph. They would simply see me as a mesomorph. I may have been mistaken about that. That moment might have already arrived.

More importantly, I have now officially lost more than 34.136% of my body weight. Slightly more than a third of me is gone. My body volume should now be 96 liters. God only knows what it was at the start, however, my body volume has dropped 21.1 liters since 5/13/2011. That's a hell of a lot of volume. That's 10 x 2 liter Coke bottles, plus an additional 1 liter bottle, and some change. Imagine carrying all that into the Bod Pod chamber with you... and then not having it anymore.

Of course, the most important thing is that I no longer suffer any knee pain, and my mobility is great. Occasionally, I need to rub my right knee with a little Camphor/Menthol/Methyl Salicylate compound after a tough workout out on the treadmill; but this isn't all the time. Further, I have no use for the Lortab I was prescribed. I just don't need it anymore.

Incidentally, I am starting that treadmill workout out at 3.6 miles per hour and a 5.5 elevation. 21 minutes later, I finish at 4.0 miles per hour and a 9.5 elevation. I bet you can't do that. One of the guys at work bet me I couldn't do that without holding on to the handles, which is cheating. He lost his bet. I proved it. I've seen some shocked expressions when people see the incline level of my treadmill at the gym. Some never knew it would go that high.

There are other side-effects beyond pain relief. Yesterday, I saw that Taurus girl--the one I sent flowers on her birthday--in the hallway as I was leaving work. She was engaged in an animated conversation with another girl. They were positioned on the route to the elevator, so I had to walk past them to get out of the building. As I passed, she interrupted her conversation to give me a big smile, and a 'hi, how are you?'

This took me by surprising. People don't usually interrupt conversations so animated to greet a passer-by. Further, she's basically given me the cold shoulder for 3 months... ever since I sent her Carnations for her birthday. This was an unexpected event. Not knowing what to say, I simply gave her a silent nod and passed by.

Still not sure what to make of this event, however, it is theoretically possible she likes me better at 217.35 than 261.0, which is what I weighed on 5/10/2011. Of course, this far-fetched theory... I'm reaching at straws here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

So I cleaned out my desk today

So I cleaned out my desk at work today. I did that just in case the boss wants to fire me tomorrow.

I took down my Jim Brown and Roger Staubach jerseys, I disassembled the Aerogarden, I packed up the protein powder and Bullet mixer, I carted out a wagon load of computer books. I also threw away a ton of junk and scrubbed the place down. Three big boxes, one Radio Flier, two full waste baskets and 30 Lysol wipes later, the joint was clean. I will take a photo of it tomorrow and post it here for your viewing pleasure.

There are only two articles left in that cubical that belong to me. The first is a Wacom Intous3 touch pad that I use in lieu of a mouse. The other is my custom-made Canadian Lifeform executive chair. I can unplug the touch pad in split second and walk out the door with it. Transporting my Lifeform chair will prove much more problematic. I will figure something out. The chair and the touch pad are the only two things [of mine] that I need to function until the day split for good.

This created quite a buzz at work. Three coworkers asked me what the hell was going on. They wanted to know if I had found a new job, or... or... or... "Not yet", I answered rather ambiguously. The two fleas, who have been sucking blood out of my ass for the past four years, were visibly shocked. There was no mistaking the meaning of those expressions. Neither dared to ask what I was doing. I suppose they were/are crushed that I am leaving them.

It may not be time to go just yet, but we just got the two minute warning and I am in my four minute offense. I am grinding the clock down. I am just making sure that everything is ready so I can sprint off the field when the final gun sounds. I got the lead and you can't have it.

I'm not the only character who is unhappy in this mix. Everyone of my teammates has a plan. We're like the 1960's Rams Al Davis once targeted: Everybody wants to leave the team. Everybody's got an escape plan. Some are sharing, some are not. We're all working on leads.

I've already got an offer on the table from what was formerly Country Wide and is now Bofa, and it is for a sizable pay increase, but who the fuck would be stupid enough to accept that position? It's literally right down the street from my present job, but this is no career move any wise man would make.

Right now I am big-game hunting. Getting the white lion may require a move to Livermore California. I am up for it, if that is what it takes.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Science of Knife sharpening

Ever since I switched from ceramic Kyocera knives to high quality steel knives, I have been learning about the art and science of knife sharpening. I have decided to boil down the things I have learned into a compact bullet list of items so that you can receive a quick revelation.

  1. Sharpening machines found at the kitchen stores ain't no damn good to God or this country. Don't buy them.
  2. 'Sharpening' steels don't sharpen, they hone a blade. Honing a blade means straightening a slightly warped edge. Sharpening steels only straighten an existing edge. They will not put a new edge on a dull piece of metal. If your edge is gone, a steel will do nothing for you. I don't bother with them. Why use a steel when can strop with leather or balsa wood? Either works better than a sharpening steel.
  3. Whetstones are for master blade smiths only. If you are an ABS Master Bladesmith, then God bless you for your skill in using these things. Otherwise, they are fairly worthless in maintaining an developing a new edge. Truth be told, very few MBS guys would ever use a stone to put the original edge on a blank piece of steel. Most use belt grinders or large water wheels to set the original edge. Since I don't don't have MBS skills, my Shapton Glass Stones are fairly worthless to me, and they are the very best that money can buy.
  4. The belt grinder is a truly marvelous piece of equipment. The belt grinder spins at 3,450 rpm, and sands down the edge of your knife quickly. The first time I developed a truly shaving sharp edge on a dull piece of steel, it was with a Central Machinery 1 x 30 belt grinder and an assortment of abrasive belts from This is a wonderful website, and I strongly recommend them. You can get belts as low as 20 grid, and belts as high as 12,000 grit. I have a wide assortment of belts. Get 'em, they are cheap.
  5. Better even than a belt grinder is the amazing Worksharp 2000. Don't bother with the 3000. The Worksharp is essentially a flat 150mm (6 inch) round plate on a DC motor. The plate spins at 1,750 rpm, or roughly half the speed of the belt grinder. The disk can be covered with an assortment of abrasives at various levels of grit. I have a honing kit that goes to 6000 grit. That level of grit adds quite a bit of polish on your knives when mounted on a device like this. The Worksharp is slightly better than a belt grinder because it puts a perfectly flat V edge on your blades. The belt grinder puts a slightly convexed V on your blades. All else being equal, a perfect V shaped edge is the sharpest edge you can possibly get.
  6. Leather stropping is wonderful, but it won't work without "loading" the leather with an abrasive compound. These are usually liquid detergent slurries of Silicone Carbide, Chromium Oxide, Boron Carbide, or diamond particles. I use several different compounds. I use leather belts on my belt grinder. I use flat sheets of leather on a simple clip board. I have used the great Russian leather strop. Interestingly, the flat sheet of leather on a clip board seems to work best. The Russian stop also works incredibly well. You will not achieve a truly mirror polish without 0.25 micron diamond spray on leather. Using this stropping technique, I have put mirror finishes on all my blades.
  7. There is one material better for stropping than leather. That is balsa wood. I was introduced to the technique of balsa wood stropping via the website. The technique is essentially identical to leather stropping. The only difference is that you load a flat plank of balsa wood with the abrasive compound, rather than leather. I had my first experience stropping on balsa tonight. It was amazing. Wushtof Ikon Classic knives that simply refused to shave hair suddenly became straight razors. With a simple low-pressure stroke, the 5 inch Santoku took a stripe of hair off my chest. Wow...
Basically, I am getting these four tools together into a sequence of ops that take a knife from bowling ball smooth to razor sharp. I am not finished perfecting my technique, but it will roughly look something like this.

  1. Flatten both sides of the blade edge using the Worksharp 2000. Move progressively from 200 grit, to 600 grit, to 1,200 grit, to 3,600 grit.
  2. After each grit level on the Worksharp, strop the blade clean using a leather belt on the 1 X 30 belt grinder. Make sure that belt is loaded with 0.5 micron chromium oxide.
  3. Use 6,000 grit and 12,000 grit belts on the belt grinder to add a slight convex edge to your otherwise perfectly flat edge. This will polish the edge to a fine level, and add toughness to your edge.
  4. Spray 0.25 micron diamond paste onto a block of balsa wood and strop.
If you go through those four steps, you will wind up with a gleeming mirror-polished edge that will easily shave hair off your face, back, legs or arms.

Bod Pod VI: I am very displeased

Today was the sixth in my series of Bod Pod tests. We don't know how many it will ultimately take, but I intend to keep testing until I reach 17% body fat.

Without further ado, during the past 2 week cycle
  1. My body volume dropped from 102.111 down to 98.176. This is a loss of 3.351 liters of body volume. of course, this brings me well inside 100 liters. Over the past 70 days, I have lost very nearly 19 liters of body volume.
  2. My body fat has dropped from 82.163 pounds down to 75.655 pounds. This is a loss of 6.508 pounds of fat.
  3. My body lean also dropped; it went down from 147.207 down to 145.617 pounds. This is a loss of 1.59 pounds of lean weight. I remain one paltry pound above where I started, but this very far from ideal.
  4. My overall body weight has dropped from 229.370 down to 221.272. This is a total loss of 8.098 pounds in the past two weeks, but I got that figure the wrong way.
  5. My body fat percentage dropped from 35.8% down to 34.2%. This is meagar drop of 1.6% in the past two weeks.

In terms of body composition change, which is the absolute name of the game, this is my worst result yet. This is not at all what I was expecting or looking for. I was expecting lean gains, not further lean losses. I was expecting a much greater fat loss also. I projected my body fat today at just about 32%. I missed that mark by a full 2.33%. That is bad, very bad.

There are clear-cut warning signs that the current exercise and diet regime has stopped working. As a gastric bypass patient, I should never lose less than 3.5 pounds of pure fat per week, or 7.0 pounds of pure fat in two weeks. I underperformed that goal by 0.5 pounds. Now, I could see one of those remarkable 3 pound drops tomorrow morning, of course. If so, this becomes a semi-moot case. We'll just say Bod Pod VI suffered from unfortunate timing.

It's time to blow-up the ship, and reoganize both the time and exercise budget. Minutes and calories need to be shifted around, and redeployed to other efforts. Aeroblic exercise is going to have to take a deep-backseat to strength training. Pumping iron is going to have to become the prime focus of my workout. I need to learn kettle bell techniques. No more lean losses will be tollerated. Lean gains from here on out.

Also, I have not been particularly careful about my diet. I have not been counting protein grams closely. I have relied on protein drinks and protein bars to provide the lion's share of my calories. When I don't consume these things, I have not been particularly careful about what I eat. I think it is time to start regulating this intake. It might even be time for the much-dreaded fish-meal to enter my diet.

So in the spirit of reformation, I think it is important to announce the following reform package:
  1. Aerobic exercise will take place every other day, not every day
  2. Weight training days will take place every other day.
  3. Weight training days will begin with the shake weight and ROM in the morning, just to get me out of the morning grog.
  4. I will purchase 1 book on the subject of nutrition for power lifters. I will digest it, and do what is ordered therein.
  5. I will add three fish meals to my diet each week, no matter how repugnant this notion may seem. The focus will be a fish called the Barramundi, which is a sustainable aquaculture fish native to Austrialia. This fish is reported to contain high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, and tastes 'good' also. We shall see.
  6. There will be an emphasis on trying to get to bed by 11:30pm and trying to get 7 hours of sleep. My workout schedule, at night, has been so intense that I frequently gotten to bed at 1:30am. This means short sleep. This not conducive to lean weight growth.
  7. I need one of those ab glider machines that Elizabeth hocks. I need to start working on mid-body and core. This is one of the biggest areas where I can make lean-improvement.
I'm sorry I don't have a photo of the Bod Pod documentation to share with you today, but I left it at the office this weekend without taking a photo. My enthusiasm was fairly low after the test. I will make take a picture of the documents on Monday and share it with you then.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Hall of Fame Game has been officially canceled

Well, well, well, son of a bitch in hell. We have the first [and hopefully the last] casualty of this long-hot summer lockout. My Rams will not play the Bears in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton Ohio. The 2011 Hall of Fame Game has been officially canceled. That link comes straight off the official NFL Website.

I suspected that this was going to happen when they failed to come up with the document Wednesday. This was also complicated by the continuing schism inside the player's camp regarding whether anti-trust litigation should go forward or be put to sleep. We heard enough reports regarding Wednesday being the drop-dead date for the HOF Game that I expected this announcement today.

I can't tell you I'm not disappointed. This sucks for Marhall Faulk, and for all the fans who view the HOF Game as the unofficial start of the bacchanalia we know as football season. If memory serves, this is the first time the HOF game has ever been canceled. In the prior two work-stoppages(1982 and 1987), play wasn't halted until the regular season was already in progress.

On the other hand, I am glad that my poorly conditioned, non-warm and un-stretched Rams won't suffer a slew of injuries in a bad scrimmage that won't mean anything on the official books. Believe me, I get it. I totally get it. This is probably for the best in the long run.

Throughout the course of this summer, we have heard a constant mantra from both the NFL Network and ESPN: as long as we settle this thing before any cancellations happen, no one will even remember that there was a lockout 3 years from now. Conversely, if games are canceled, there will be a collective memory, and there will be a backlash.

We'll have to wait and see. This isn't a good thing, but it is only the first preseason game. We shouldn't hit the panic button just yet.

Rich Eisen was close to flipping out yesterday when the baby wasn't born just yet. I think his (very inside) sources warned him that the HOF Game was at death's door. I think he was very concerned about the collective memory of this affair. Rightly so.

The good news is that the owners have approved the new deal. Now we just need the players to do the same thing. Let's hope that the more fractious members will stand down, and the anti-trust lawsuits can be put to sleep for the duration.

As much as I would like to see Vincent Jackson a free agent (the Rams' very last shot at getting a franchise receiver this season), I would like to see some actual football games this year even more. A free agent Vincent Jackson isn't going to do the 2011 Rams much good if the 2011 season is held hostage by anti-trust litigation.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Very little time for blogging right now

Just a few words before heading out to the gym for an all-out baking session in the sauna.

Between my attempt to organize a successful job transition, my introduction to social media, and the increasing duration and intensity of my workouts, it's been very difficult to find a few minutes to blog. I have a thousand things I'd like to talk about, but so little time.

Right now the pressure is on to make weight for Bod Pod VI. I am only 35 hours away, and the bathroom scale says I am stuck at 224. As we all know, the bathroom scale is not as accurate as the Bod Pod. Further, mine is shy to the heavy side. I figure I have 35 hours to shed 3 pounds. With the help of some good Magnesium Citrate, and heavy dose of steam and dry sauna time, I just might make it.

I'm not stressing much over these results as:
  1. I have already achieved my primary goals & objectives
  2. I am already the prettiest guy at Informa Research Services.
  3. My cousin Diana says I look gorgeous
  4. Melinda is my facebook friend
  5. I am fairly sure my lean weight has been rebounding big-time during this two week cycle
Still, I would like to at a solid 220 this weekend. I am headed back to my hometown to visit with my Aunt & Uncle who have not seen me since Easter Sunday. I was around 265 at that time. I think 45 pounds should make for a hell of a visible (even shocking) difference.

According to the state of the art estimates, human body fat has a similar density to SAE 10W-30 motor oil. This would indicate 1.93 pounds per liter. This is very close to my own estimate of 1.90 pounds per liter. The variance may be accounted for via my lean weight gains.

If I can knock it down to 220 by this weekend, I will have reduced the volume of space my body occupies by some 23.31 liters. The next time you hold a 1 liter water bottle in you hand, contemplate 23.31 of those things being knocked off your body.

Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

As Marshall Faulk says, do be afraid to be great.

Until next time, you can rock out with the following groovy tracks that have kept me going during the workouts lately.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Meet Candidate B: Nigella Lawson


Roughly two weeks ago, I wrote blog about project Chess Master. Chess Master is my code name for one component (among several) of my larger Synastry Engine project. Chess Master is the software module that will computer the 5 internal planet settings for your two optimal trine companions in life. Remember, there are always two.

If you read that blog entry you know I specified the 5 inner planet settings for my own two optimal trine companions in this life. I dubbed them Candidate A and Candidate B. This does not express any preference or priority. It is simply a designator.

Candidate A is Taurus woman. A woman fairly similar to her happens to exist in my own professional environment. She is not an exact match, but she is a reasonable approximation of Candidate A. There may well be much closer matches for Candidate A out there in the world, and I suspect there are.

Candidate B is a Capricorn woman. When I wrote that piece, I knew of no woman who was a reasonable match for Candidate B. To be sure, I was very interested in finding a close match for Candidate B. I wanted to know how I would react to her. Finding such a woman would tell me whether my theory was on the right or wrong course.

Yesterday morning

As I was trying to wake from a nightmarish and sleepless night last night, I noticed that the Biography channel was showing a program about one of my very favorite women and cook show hosts: Nigella Lawson, the grand dame of British TV. I already knew she was a Capricorn, and I already knew I was crazy about her.

For me, Nigella Lawson is like a blast of pure sunshine. I am always thrilled to see her.

Since Nigella is twice married and once widowed, with several children, not to mention several years older than me, I had never bothered to cast her chart. She’s off the draft board. I can’t have her. Poor me. There’s no use in investigating Nigella.

The documentary began (appropriately enough) with Nigella’s birth. Her birthday was given as January 6, 1960 in London England. Well, since I was a bit board at the top of the day, I decided to take the 25 seconds necessary to walk over to my desktop computer and cast her chart. What I saw astounded me. I saw Capricorn Sun & Mercury, I saw an Aries Moon, and a conjuncted Venus and Mars sitting in Sagittarius.

People who are little less fluent in the symbolic language of astrology might not snap on that one instantly, but I did. If you know your own chart like the back of your hand, and if you have memorized the pattern for your ideal trine companion, you would have snapped immediately also.

I saw a strong match for Candidate B, my ideal Capricorn companion. In fact, she nailed 4 out of 5 signs. The one difference was her Moon sign. Instead of having a Leo Moon, she had an Aries Moon. This is the same as my Moon sign. Although her Moon is 16 degrees away from mine, we are—roughly speaking—conjucted here. That ain’t bad folks. That shouldn’t count against her at all. Some might even say this makes her more ideal.

Consider the information in the following table.




Candidate B

Nigella Lawson



Virgo 09:37

Capricorn 9:37

Capricorn 15:11



Aries 07:13

Leo 12:20

Aries 23:14



Virgo 02:09

Capricorn 2:09

Capricorn 03:17



Leo 22:04

Sagittarius 05:02

Sagittarius 04:57



Leo 05:02

Sagittarius 22:04

Sagittarius 24:20

If you understand simple numbers, representing degrees in a circle, what you see here is very nearly a bull’s eye strike. Nigella is terrifyingly close to a perfect match for Candidate B, and even more terrifyingly close to perfect match for me.

It’s so clear-cut that even Sirus understands we are a hellacious match. The synastry engine in Sirus 1.1 grades the romantic and sexual attraction score as 370. Remember, anything over 150 is considered extremely strong.

Do I think Nigella is a 370? Hell yes! Are you kidding me? She drives me bat-shit crazy! Of course she is a 370! That just may be an error on the low side. Certainly, my own engine would grade her much higher than that.


I consider the case of Nigella Lawson a full-scale proof of my theory of synastry. I am not only attracted to Candidate B, I have been attracted to her for years now. I am attracted to her despite the fact that she is nearly 7 years older than me. I am attracted to her despite fact that she is twice married with children.

As you can see, there are reasons why. Although Sirus is in the ball-park, Sirus under-values this matchup by a considerable margin. The score should be higher.

So, one of my relatives text messaged me with a simple question just a little while ago, "Does Nigella really represent your ideal type? If you spotted a girl in a public place who strongly remind you of Nigella would you go after her?"

The answers are:

  • Hell yes.
  • Hell yes.
I have said many times that I am strongly biased towards European looking Latins. You can draw a golden triangle from France down to Spain and across to Italy, then back to France. Anywhere inside that golden triangle, you are likely to find what Dave regards as the most beautiful women in the world. Though Nigella is British, she could easily pass for Italian, and I am sure she did during the time she lived there.

My own emotional reaction

Of course, I was pissed off and jealous shortly after seeing all of this. I’m going to have to journey to heaven to punch God in the mouth for cheating me in this lifetime. Nigella should have been mine. I was swindled. This is an injustice!

Of course, we realize that there were many baby girls born on 1/6/1960. We also realize that this celestial combination may recur 10 to 12 years later. Let’s just hope this series is not that uncommon, and let’s hope I can find many more examples like Nigella.

Still, as all fans of Nigella will tell you, there are few if any women like her in this world.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Ballad of Aries and Scorpio

You've heard me speak of a number of legendary positive matches on the synastry board before. Now how about one of the all-time worst match ups... unless you are looking for a war. If you want a war, this would be one hell of a good match up.

Wanna see a good Texas death match inside a steel cage? Just select one choice example of the Aries clan and one choice example of the Scorpio clan and lock them in. You'll see a bloody piece of sport alright. Of all the legendary enemies in synastry, none can match Aries vs. Scorpio.

Aries is a masculine fire sign, full of Yang energy. It is the Cardinal sign that leads of the spring, meaning this dude has to be the leader, and a hell of a war chief he is. If you don't believe me, consult with Peyton Manning or Bill Bellichick. You'll never find an angrier, more bellicose, more pugnacious and belligerent fellow. They are quick to anger, and quick to forget about it... after hitting you in the jugular with a sticking knife. Understand that, metaphorically speaking, Aries is the god of war. This guy thrives on crushing and conquering his enemies.

Scorpio is a feminine water sign, full of Yin energy. It is fixed sign, located in the middle of fall. We know this season as shake-out season in football. Scorpio tends to be quite and secretive, but they are nasty on the inside. They are given to massive internal emotional disruptions and waves of passion that they don't show. They nurture a grudge for a long time before exploding on you in a fit of rage. They don't forget wrongs done to them until they have their revenge. Then they rejoice. The vengeance of the Scorpion is a hell of thing. Despite the fact that Scorpio is not a Cardinal sign, Scorpio is an ultra-control freak. Scorpio wants to run things, despite a lack of leadership potential, all else being equal.

When you put the two of them together you get a 150 degree angle. This is called an inconjunct or broken angle. These two have absolutely nothing in common outside of a high sex drive. Fire and Water don't mix. In the Zodiac, masculine and feminine signs do not mix well. There may be a powerful physical attraction between an Aries and a Scorpio, but they will fail to blend well. The Cardinal nature of Aries doesn't go over well with Scorpio, and neither do the bellicose tendencies. These two have a strong tendency to wake up the worst in each other.

According to myth, Achilles was Aries and Hector was a Scorpio. We all know how that one turned out. They fought the hell out of each other, and Achilles slew Hector. According to the legend, he was the only warrior in the world great enough to do the job on Hector. Nobody else could.

In love, the famous duo of John Wayne Bobbitt (3/23/1967) and Lorena Bobbit (10/31/1970) were an Aries and Scorpio couple. He did what many Aries men do to their wives: He fucked around on her a lot. Like most Scorpio women, she built up to a seething level of rage and cut his penis off. The revenge of the Scorpion is a hell of a thing.

I wouldn't be surprise to discover that this latest case of penis cutting involves another Aries and Scorpio couple.

I know of only one moderately happy and moderately successful Aries & Scorpio pair. That is Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne. Believe me, these two don't sleep together. Further, they had to work hard on it. It works because they are both dedicated pros. I don't think their natural synastry is all that great. They are not purported to be buddy-buddy either. It works out because this is a highly professional partnership with some boundaries.

The damn thing is that I seem to prefer the Aries over the Scorpio. My Neptune is in Scorpio, but this not a personal planet. My South Node is Scorpio, meaning I am supposed to forsake all things Scorpio in this lifetime. I have a very significant presence of Aries in my chart, including the Moon, Fortuna and Pallas Athena.

According to Sirus, my highest possible romantic match up is versus 4/13/1979 Aries woman. I am intensely skeptical of this calculation; so much so that I am writing my own synastry engine right now to disprove this notion. Still, I can't deny that I seem to get along better with the Aries clan than the Scorpio clan. This is not normal for a Virgo. Typically, Virgos are supposed to get along very well with Scorpio. Not me baby.

Top Aries scores 537 points. Top Scorpio scores 328. It's a 199 point ass-whupping. Although, I am skeptical of the notion that Aries is top-gun overall in my life, I don't doubt they outscore Scorpio by 199 points. My own synastry engine is more about proving that Dave's Taurus and Capricorn scores are vastly better than Sirus says they are.

I have to be brutally honest with you folks for one second: at this stage of the game my worst enemy in life is a Scorpio, and she is waking up Aries the war god. The situation has reached the stage where I am prepared to leave the company I have worked for for the past four years. I need to do this before I explode.

I often question why the two of us hate each other so well. Virgo and Scorpio are supposed to be well disposed towards each other under normal circumstances. There are a plethora of real world reasons why there is a strong hatred here. Still, I have ignored real-world reasons for war before. This one seems to wake up the very worst in me. I can't help but think it is something metaphysical or karmic. Achilles wants to slay Hector.

The better angels of my Virgo nature are restraining the three Aries and two Leo elements of my chart, but they are getting plenty tired, and the god of war is getting ready to bust his rusty cage and run. He's got two fire lions who like to rip shit up running behind him. Don't bet on these guy to lose either. Cry "havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war.

I don't ever recall having a war with an Aries. I haven't had many enemies or wars in my life, but never with an Aries. I usually get along fairly well with them, although we rarely close. The exception would be dear old mom. We are close. I was once head-over-heals in love with an Aries girl back in 1996. I though she was the one. It probably would have worked out if it hadn't been for religion. Still, I can see now that it would have been a bumpy ride.

Perhaps there is something to the Vedic notion that the Moon is more important than the Sun in the individual's chart. Perhaps I am lot more Aries than I think I am.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

60% body mass...?

As you know, I have already achieved the primary purpose I set out to achieve when I had gastric bypass surgery. I have lost more than 30% of my original mass. My arthritic knees are now fine, and almost pain free. The wheel chair has been avoided... for now. Let's hope knee replacement will make that (effectively) forever, or until my death.

Still, the weight loss continues unabated. I'm thinning out at a frenetic pace. Folks, I don't want to play coy with you: I feel plenty weird in my new body these days. I can feel my bones. I can count my ribs as I lay in bed in the morning. I can see the muscle splits between my quadriceps and thigh biceps. I can see big veins and striation in my calf muscles. My face is almost gaunt.

Pants I used to wear 5 months ago are completely unwearable, in either private or public settings. They simply cannot be tightened enough to stay on me, and I look plenty stupid with my plants falling down. The size XL pants I purchased a mere month ago, are now beginning to look a little long and baggy. I can already wear a pair of my brothers large-sized Addidas training pants. That's not XXL or XL; just L.

I found an old pair of size 44 Levi jeans as I was cleaning out my closet. God only knows how old they are. They may well be 17-18 years old. They may date back to my last days at UCLA. These jeans are a bit loose and baggy; not outrageously so, but they are a bit loose. I am pretty sure I can fit into 42, maybe even a 40. If not now, then wait a couple of days. The 40s will fit.

Members of the family, have looked me over head to toe, and suggested that I should slow down. "You've pretty much made it", they say, "You shouldn't lose more than 10 pounds more. You are a big, broad-shouldered guy and you won't look right at a weight lower than 210 or 215." These comment echos sentiments expressed by Dr. Quilici's PA, who declared that I should disregard the BMI index, and cease weight loss efforts around 200 pounds.

With that said, I think my ideal weight is closer to 200 than 210. This begs the question: with all of my primary goals achieved, what is the next logical goal? How do I finish this? When will I finish this? How will I know when I am finished with this?

Strictly speaking, my general practitioner has set the goal. She believes the ideal body fat percentage for a man of 44-45 is 17%. Very few men of this age in the United States can meet this stiff criteria. I am told the lion's share are over 20% body fat.

What will it take to get to 17% body fat? There are two ways to answer that question. I expect to have 150 pounds of lean mass as of the next Bod Pod. 150 /0.83 = 181, roughly speaking. I am horrified by the look of that number. I do not want to weigh 181 pounds. I think most of the people who know me would be equally aghast seeing that number.

The other way to look at is this: My body fat percentage is just about 35% right now, and I have 82 pounds of fat on my frame. Cut the percentage in half and you are just about at the bulls eye. Of course, you achieve this by cutting the fat weight 42 pounds. When these numbers were provided by the Bod Pod, my weight was 229.37. 229.37 - 41 = 188.37.

The figure of 188.37 is only slightly less horrifying than the figure 181. The lowest I have ever been in my adult life is 192, and this was fresh-faced out of Army Basic and AIT. That was more than 22 years ago.

So what goal shall I set anyhow? One thing is for sure. I want to concentrate on gaining lean mass more than losing fat weight at this point. I certainly want to raise my lean mass over 160 pounds. Perhaps it can never reach 190 pounds again, but I want to see it at 170.

There is another possible goal which I am considering very seriously. My big goal was to reduce my body mass 30% and reach 70% of my original mass. How about 60% of my original body mass? 0.4 X 330 = 132 pounds. 0.6 X 330 = 198 pounds. This would place me a scant 6 pounds over my U.S. Army training weight. This would be pretty damn good for a man 44 years old.

Whether I set course for it or not, I am headed for 60% in rocket ship. as I write this my weight is flexing between 226 and 228. It's been volatile in the last several days. I have seen this volatility many times in the past 5 months, and it usually foreshadows a big drop. Said drop usually comes within a week's time.

I could drop 7 or 8 pounds by next Friday. It has happened before.

I am expecting the next Bod Pod test to show me at 221-222. I expect my lean mass to be at 150 pounds. I expect my fat mass to be at 72 pounds. I expect my body fat percentage to drop to 32.4%

There is no doubt that I am finishing this process. The next 15 pounds will be decisive. Once the next 15 pounds come off, and my weight reaches approximately 214 pounds, no reasonable member of western civilization will see me as a fat guy. They will see me as a fairly robust Mesomorph. That will be one hell of a change.

When I reach 215 pounds, I think I am going to visit a local night club rumored to be one hell of a meat market. I don't really intend to "hookup" as they say. Rather, I want to conduct an experiment. It will be interesting to see the reaction of female shoppers to the merchandise.

I'll make a prediction for you: The first aggressor will be a Scorpio, and it won't go well.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Positive steps towards a good change in employment

The employment market is very difficult today. Making a smooth & successful transition to a better position is far from easy. What does a man need to do to maximize his chances of success? I've given that some serious thought, and I have developed the following list of items:
  1. Polish up that resume. This is everybody's first step in getting that next job. I'm going to have to look at what is trendy right now in resume righting. Of course, a computer programmer's resume must be bloated with all of the latest buzz words.
  2. Hold until late July. Make ready to get underway until then. Continue weight loss unabated. It will take some time to execute all the steps on this list. Give yourself a modicum of time to get it done.
  3. Get a custom tailored business suit. The cloths make the man. In SoCal, it's all about style over substance. The moto is "You are your image; you must control your image or your image will control you." It is an odious and egregious fact, but in the glamour capital of the universe, personal appearance means more than any skill or merit.
  4. Get a professional photographer to take executive portrait shots of you. In line with position #1, many employers want to look at you in the way casting directors do. Does this man look convincing in the role? If I take still shots of this guy, will he convince anyone he is the character we cast him as? I have been told that one way to land a big desk in a nice office is to have a Hollywood photographer do portraiture of you behind a big executive desk. First impressions are lasting impressions. If the first shot an employer sees of you is a man in custom tailored business suit behind an executive desk, odds are this will become the frieze chiseled in the mind's eye.
  5. Be open to a move out of state for new and better employment.
  6. Look in cities such as San Francisco, Miami, Dallas, Phoenix and Las Vegas.
  7. Get Bump. Bump is a little phone app that allows you to exchange business cards with people you meet by simply bumping your smart phones together. It automatically adds these individuals to your database of contacts and keeps their business cards in an orderly fashion.
  8. Get a account. Folks, this tip comes straight from Why should they recommend another website other than their own? It is an odious and egregious fact that more and more employers are seeking information about their prospects from social media. If you don't have a account, some treat this fact as a lack of ID and credentials. This is particularly true in the hipster-huckster bleeding-edge technology market. This is not entirely without merit. You can recognize a problem case based on certain key warning signs found in social media. Still, it is vastly more difficult to assign positive merit points based on what you see in social media. Regrettably, many employers do both today.
  9. Get a Twitter account. Regrettably, many placement agencies are using Twitter these days. They use it for communication purposes. I don't particularly like this idea, but it you will either play or pay for it.
  10. List yourself on Dice remains a leader in placing technology professionals. I am going to have to see there is something better these days.
  11. List yourself on Most of us have seen the commercials for Should we believe the hype? I don't know, but I think it is worth having a look at this site.
  12. Consider joining the Masonic Lodge. I know this going to sound wacky to some people. When all is said and done, the Masonic Lodge is just an old-boys network. This is a back-slapping club in which the men pledge to help each other in their careers. I have two uncles who made it to the 33rd degree in Scottish Rite. There is some power in this outfit. It is not what it used to be, but there remains something to be said for it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Time to say goodbye?


It all began at a Hollywood website I joined in the wee hours of the 2007 new year. I was hired on by a full-Ph.D. computer scientist named Jamal. We’re not talking about an honorary or mail-order Ph.D. either. We’re talking about the real thing from UCSD. Jamal was of Syrian extraction, and he was good. This guy was not an ivory tower scientist. He really knew something about computer science and software engineering.

Jamal had been hired by the owner of this website to be the company CIO. All future development of the website was to be directed by Jamal. The owner wanted to focus on strategic partnerships with studios and production companies. He did not want to deal with the grind of software development anymore.

A funny thing happened on the way to that division of labor. It turned out that the owner could not stand being out of the website development business. It turned out that he could not accept the true meaning of delegation of authority. He just couldn’t allow anyone else full creative control over his website. It turns out that he had to have his hands on the baby.

A power struggle ensued between Jamal and the owner. Step 1 in winning the battle was to fire the three developers Jamal had hired. You take away his chess pieces first, then you go in for the kill. Unexpectedly, I found myself on the street looking for a new job in Mid-June of 2007 after just about 5 months of employment. I had been fired.

Looking for a new home

No one expects a job to end in 5 months. You really don’t expect that in a situation when you know you are good. I hadn’t planned financially for this problem. Further, my brother and I were splitting rent in a relatively expensive house in Van Nuys California, and he was planning to move out. I was unemployed, and my rent was about to increase.

In this sort of financial jam, you don’t have a lot of time to select the perfect job at the perfect company. You cannot afford to be selective. You need to accept the first decent offer you are given. This is one of those moments when a perfectionist needs to make concessions to real-world expediency. So it was with me. This is how I landed in my current job.

The interview process was simple. I made two visits. I had several conversation with a pair of developers I will call T and R. T & R had been in the organization for years before I ever showed up. I asked them a short list of questions about the company to help size up what brand of outfit this was. The both answered the question in essentially the same way. Based on their answers, I reached the following conclusions about my current company:

  1. This was a very family oriented company. Execs were more concerned about taking their kids to baseball games than growing a trillion dollar organization.
  2. This was a mellow, low-pressure company, where quality of life was basically paramount.
  3. This was a low-pay company. Most of the people working here had been hired straight out of college or from low-end jobs at very low prices. There were theoretical bonuses and raises. Most people didn’t get any such thing.
  4. This was a low-tech company. Elementary CRUD applications and websites were the warp and woof of daily life. VB.NET and FoxPro were the two dominant paradigms. There would be no real technological challenges or adventures in this business.
  5. In terms of software development, execs were more concerned with cosmetic appearance of things than actual logic or data integrity.
  6. Programmers were not managers, and managers would never come from programmer stock. If you wanted to be a manger in this organization, it would be best if you held an MBA from USC or Pepperdine. Otherwise, it was good to be a pretty girl.
  7. They didn’t like change in the roster and they didn’t like firing people. If you joined the firm, you had job security.

Based on these seven smaller conclusions, it was possible to derive a much larger conclusion. That conclusion was as follows: If I accepted this offer, I will be entering a dead-end job. It would be a very nice and comfortable dead-end job, but it would turn out to be a dead-end job. There would be no opportunities for technical progress, growth in wages, responsibility or advancement in rank. There would also be no significant bonus for massive effort.

How do you play this one?

So the chess master has a problem before him. How do you play this arrangement of pieces on the chess board?

  • You are out of work suddenly.
  • You are in a financial jam
  • You have an offer on the table for a comfortable dead-end job

What do you do? I will give you my solution:

  • Turn down the offer of permanent employment
  • Tell them that you are really looking for an hourly consulting position. Tell them that you would accept an consulting gig, but not permanent placement
  • Go short with this one. Stay in the gig for 6 months to 1 year, deliver as much value as possible, then sell-short and move on.

This was my plan, and I followed it… at first. I declined the hiring offer. I tendered a counter offer for a consulting position. They refused the consulting gig, and offered the perm job again. I declined, and said I would continue looking for a position. They folded. I won. I was brought on for a 150 day contract.

The figure of 150 days was extremely weird. I had never had a 150 day contract in my life, and I had had 16 professional contracts before that moment in time. If I had been as calendar savvy as I am now, I would have understood that this was a setup. I was scheduled to come onboard during the first week of July. 150 days puts you schmack in the Holiday season. Nobody hires new consultants during the Holidays. They knew they could trap me with a perm-offer in late-November or early-December.

This was their plan, and they executed it by the numbers. Come December, I was trapped. I could be unemployed for the Holidays, which would create a true financial jam, or I could accept the perm offer.

At first I was of a strong mind to decline the perm offer and take my chances. No dice. As hard as I looked, I could find no suitable consulting or perm positions open at that time. I really looked hard too. There was truly nothing. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the first early warnings of the financial crisis on the horizon.

With no other options available I took the only option available. I took the perm job.

The financial crisis

Once 2008 began in Ernst, I resumed looking for other employment. I never felt comfortable in this job. I always believed I was a programmatic and organizational non-fit for this company. I always expected it to end, and end soon. I never, ever expected this job to run four years. I never thought for one second I had a foot-hold in this company. In brutal honesty, I never really wanted a foot-hold. This was not my cup of tea. This was not in my agenda.

The problem with looking for employment in 2008 was pretty simple: We were on the verge of the worst banking collapse in the history of the world. It could have easily been the worst depression every. It may yet turn into the worst depression ever.

2008 was a rotten financial year, and it was rotten all year long. Some fools believe it only turned rotten in September of 2008. Not so. The financial news was terrible all year long. We were just in psychological denial about everything until Lehman brothers dropped dead, and the system executed the domino theory of collapse.

In this macroeconomic environment, it is difficult for anyone to find a job. It is more difficult if you are a computer programmer in the financial industry who is looking for that perfect job. Believe me, you won’t find it. I sure didn’t.

Once the crisis hit on Sept 15, 2008, I was expecting a pink-slip. I thought it would come any day. I was not expecting them to keep me, and I was expecting to be the second or third man in MIS/IT to be let go. Who was #1, and #2? I thought this was an arbitrary question, as I was expected the first three guys to go in a cluster. All three would be flushed at once, or so I thought.

A strange thing happened on the way to the flush. The high command decided to keep all of us in the programming section. The roster was cut to a very small extent; however, the cuts were mostly problem people who were on the disciplinary chopping block anyhow. I found this move baffling. It was very nice, but it was baffling. I still have a hard time believing they carried all of us programmers through this recession when there was no work to do. We sat around twiddling our thumbs doing nothing… and getting paid for it.

I guess we had good karma. I guess the bosses wanted good karma.

Where we are today

Three surgeries and a little economic non-recovery later, Dave is seriously thinking about moving on. I remain a programmatic and organizational non-fit for this company. If I am going to move, it better be soon. It better happen while I am in the full-bloom of rosy health, and it better happen before September strikes. This September could be a very bad financial month indeed. It might be the worst since 2008.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bod Pod V: Victory is mine at 229

So I went out for my 5th Bod Pod test this morning, and to make it very succinct for you, they want to hang my progress chart on the wall of fame. If you ever have a Bod Pod composition test done at the California Health and Longevity institute, you just might find my progress chart hanging on the wall.

I started this whole process at 330 pounds. Dr. Bachner claimed I needed to lose 30% of my body mass to avoid confinement to a wheel chair for the rest of my life. 330 X 0.3 = 99.0. This means my target weight, according to Bachner, should be 231.

This morning, the Bod Pod recorded my weigh at 229.37. This is victory over Europe day. This makes the all the blood, guts, pain, sweat and tears (not to mention vomiting) worth-while. I have officially passed the first big milestone. Now on to the second big target. I still need to cut my Body Fat Percentage in half.

It's interesting to note that my early projections in March indicated that I would hit this target weight in the early stages of July. My computer projections bounced around between July 7-9, based on how fast or how slow my progress was rolling, but the date always hovered around this range. Though the confirmation came of July 8, it is very likely that I hit the target weight yesterday or the day before. July 6 or 7 is the most likely candidate as victory day. We still needed the official confirmation to declare victory.

In the last two week cycle, I lost 9.291 pounds of pure fat. Unfortunately, I also lost 1.421 pounds of lean mass. The total loss was 10.712 pounds. This reduced my body fat ratio by 2.3%. I regret the lean loss. My results this cycle would have been better if I had kept my 1.421 pounds of muscle. I went a little too hard this time around. I am pretty exhausted. I'm going to ease off the accelerator a little bit during the next two week cycle.

The overall story since I began Bod Pod testing is pretty impressive. In the past 56 days I have reduced my body fat percentage 8.3%, lost 31.928 pounds of pure fat, and added 2.647 pounds of lean. My lean mass figure went down a bit this cycle, but I am still in positive territory overall. Absolute weight has been reduced by 29.281 pounds.

The most amazing figure is this: 56 days ago, my body occupied 117.111 liters of physical space. This morning, the Bod Pod measured my body volume at 102.111 liters. This indicates that I have lost 15.0 liters of body volume in just 56 days. The next time you drink from a 1 liter bottle of water or use a 4 cup measuring cup, you have to imagine 15 of those suckers distributed all over my body. Then imagine them all vanishing in less than two months.

A morph film, before and after, would have been good. Too late now.

And now we come to a very interesting moment in my life. The plan up to this point has been to make this first big weight goal, buy a nice suit of business cloths, fix up my resume, and enter the market. I had some pretty frank... nay, make that brutally frank discussions about this with my direct supervisor at work today.

Special K, as I will call him, is a good friend of mine. We are absolutely honest with each other. This is a good thing. We both know where we stand. There is never any doubt about that. It is not often in business where you have an absolutely blunt, frank, honest rapport with a coworker. This is one of those rare cases. As might be expected, Special K doesn't want me to go.

The two of us must have been brothers in a past life, maybe even several times, because I do feel that pathos. Further, this job is a mixture of wonderful and bad things. This isn't a simple story, or an easy matter to sort out. Still, the secular trend is heading in a very bad direction lately. I am extremely burnt-out on this job and this story.

I am feeling the urge to go. I feel that it is time to die to the past and be reborn to the future. This is the way you get a fresh start. No decision has been made yet, but I am leaning strongly towards departure.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Chess Master: My first original and brilliant idea


In any scientific software project, there are two paths you can take.

You can take a purely empirical approach in which you perform open-ended research without any assumptions about what the data is going to tell you. This is what statisticians do when they perform endless linear regressions through piles of numerical data. You just try to find the patterns in the data. This is how baseball geeks discovered that on-base percentage was the ultimate predictor of a player’s value to his team. This is how I discovered I have a thing for Venus or Mars in Scorpio. This is how I discovered my magical little 3/12/1986 date. Incidentally, she does not have Mars or Venus in Scorpio.

The other path is the logical, abstract, theoretical approach. In this approach, you use key theoretical principles to reason-out the best possible hypothesis. You then devise a test for that hypothesis. This is how a guy like Bill Walsh reasoned out the theory that a bunch of short triangle rub-off passing patterns could win you the Super Bowl back in the 1980s. This is also how Bill Bellichick reasoned out the notion that two-zone 40 yard defense could stop those short triangle rub-off patterns. Of course, they put these theories to the test in battle. They both won their gambits.

Let’s look at the astrological wheel as a chess board

To the best of my knowledge, there is no piece of software in the astrological world that resembles a chess engine. There is no piece of software that will consider the contents of your chart the way a chess engine would consider the placement of pieces on a chess board. There are plenty of chess engines out there, and most of them will allow you to set up a scenario of pieces. Those engines are then capable of determining that specific arrangement of pieces opposite your pieces would be the best possible counter-position.

In the world of astrology, such an engine should be able to consider the placement of planets on a wheel and then say, the following arrangement of planets on a second chart would be the theoretical optimal solution as your soul-mate. Of course, the next problem is computing the date when that theoretical optimal combination of planets occurred. Unfortunately, due to the complexities of celestial mechanics, that perfect combination might have a date in the year 987 BC, or maybe it won’t occur until 2365 AD. You never know until you compute the date. The perfect mate may be, practically speaking, impossible to obtain.

Nevertheless, I think there is great value in devising an engine that will reason out the perfect theoretical mate. Just presenting this information in a simple grid would be extremely informative. A guy like me could easily memorize what that theoretical ideal looks like. Given five minutes to compare a real chart to that theoretical chart, it’s easy to see how closely it resembles or how far it deviates from that theoretically perfect chart.

More importantly, there is a chance—no matter how remote—that you just might get lucky. Your perfect mate might have been born 4 years before or 6 years after you. You might have a lucky chart that’s easy to match. If so, you might not need my help, but what the hell.

What is this ‘perfect’ crap you’re talking about?

The Star Goddess Janet Scialis is fond of saying “If you ever hear the word perfect, it came out of the mouth of a Virgo.” Yes, I am a Virgo, and a damn good one. I have a high concentration of powerful planets in my first house, and that first house just happens to be located in Virgo. We have a killer reputation for being perfectionists. With that said, our rep is vastly overstated.

We know the difference between a theoretical ideal and reality. I am very pragmatic and utilitarian in looking for optimal solutions. I begin with the notion that perfection is un-obtainable. Furthermore, perfection is the enemy of the possible, as my dad likes to say. We strive for perfection, but we do not attain it. We go after it, and get as close as possible, but you need to know when to stop and accept an expedient compromise.

Nevertheless, perfection is a very useful abstract concept. The meter, the kilogram, and the liter are all purely abstract concepts. No one has ever measured a perfect meter, kilogram or liter of anything. Nevertheless, these abstract concepts of perfection are incredible important units of measure in our practical world of engineering. We would be utterly fucked to the gills without perfect units of measure. No technological progress would ever be possible without such units of measure. You can’t put a man on the moon without these perfect units of measure.

Likewise in synastry, I don’t think you can really make a recommendation about what a guy or a girl should look for until you come up with a sharply honed notion of what the perfect mate would look like.

So how the hell do you compute a theoretical ideal mate anyway?

It’s pretty easy actually. We start with the following presuppositions based on theory:

  1. The 5 personal planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars) are the key pieces that have to line up with good angles.
  2. The Conjunction is the most powerful angle in just about all cases, but it is unpredictable. Sometimes it produces great affinity and sometimes it produces great hatred. It depends on whether you identify strongly with that individual, or if that individual reminds you of everything you hate about yourself. Despite its tremendous power, we discard the Conjunction as a candidate for the optimal solution. It is just too unpredictable.
  3. The Opposition is the most powerful angle for attraction, but opposition contains… er… well… opposition. If you are opposites, you don’t have a lot in common. You may complement each other well and complete each other, but you don’t agree much on the particulars of the matter. We discard this as a candidate for the optimal solution because it strongly implies conflict as well as balance and attraction.
  4. The Sextile, or 60 degree angle, is the angle of good fortune. It denotes different, but highly compatible elements. In the case of Earth signs the Sextiles will be water signs. In the case of Fire signs, the Sextiles will be Air signs. We regard this as an excellent angle, but only second best overall. It is not the optimal solution, although it is a very good solution.
  5. Almost everyone is in agreement that the Trine, or 120 degree angle, is the best of all possible angles. This denotes one of two possible signs that are of your specific gender, energy and element. This implies strong compatibility and an easy flow; getting together is both natural and fun. The Trine is the optimal solution.

Let’s Trine out

So the notion is simple.

  1. Take the orbital position of the five personal planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars)
  2. Compute the two trines of each planet by adding or subtracting 120 degrees to that orbital position.
  3. Collect up the results and Lay them out in a grid next to client chart.
  4. Try to compute the actual date on which this combination planet positions occurred.
  5. Determine whether this date is, practically speaking, out of range and unobtainable.
  6. Look for some near misses.


I am aware of the fact that the astrological literature warns that too many trines make for a lazy, careless and easy life. I am aware of the fact that many authorities suggest that squares and oppositions create challenges that are important for personal growth and change.

These chaps obvious haven’t met Tim Tebow. As I have mentioned before on this blog, the kid is almost entirely fire. His chart is utterly dominated by Leo, Aries and Sagittarius. Tebow is a bunch of Trines. You ought to see the magnificent equilateral triangles in his chart. This is one of those charts that makes the Magi come from east and say show me where the new born king of the Jews lies. It doesn’t surprise me that the kid is great, and I don’t doubt he will become a great NFL QB. There ain’t nothing lazy, careless or easy about this kid.

In short, I don’t buy this critique. I reject it. I think it is good to trine out the five internal planets. I can see no downside to taking a stab at this objective. I think this represents the best of all possible abstract goals. Of course, real mileage will vary.

There are always (at least) two candidates

So let’s remember that there are 12 signs and 4 elements. Each element has three signs. Each one of your planets is going to reside in one of those signs. For each possible position of any planet in your chart, there are two possible Trine companions. In the case of Virgo, both Taurus and Capricorn are equal Trine companions. In the case of Scorpio, both Cancer and Pisces are equal Trines. In the case of Leo, both Aries and Sagittarius are equal trines. In the case of Libra, both Gemini and Aquarius are equal trines.

Logically, this means that for any given individual there are two equally good theoretical perfect matches. I have two theoretically perfect matches. You have two theoretically perfect matches. The implications of that statement are fairly staggering. What if you had to choose between two theoretically perfect mates? How would you go about making that decision? How could you disappoint either one of them? Would it not kill you to make that choice?

The decision would be greatly complicated by the fact that these two would also be equally perfect for each other. They might be as close as blood brothers, or virtual sisters. I wonder if this is the reason for the great popularity of the archetypal romances in which a man or a woman is forced to choose between two perfect candidates. There are many thousands of mythical tragedies in which two blood brothers fall in love with the same woman and wind up killing each other over her. They kill each other because neither can live without her.

You can take solace in the fact that you probably won’t ever have to make this choice. Whether either one of your two perfect candidates lives today is in doubt. Whether either one of them is old enough or young enough for you is equally in doubt.

Still, we can afford the time to look around for these candidates.

Take me, for an example

So if we use an example I happen to know well, namely me, we can see how this works in action. A grid displaying my 5 personal planets and there two perfect Trine companions.




Candidate A

Candidate B



Virgo 9:37

Taurus 9:37

Capricorn 9:37



Aries 7:13

Leo 12:20

Leo 12:20



Virgo 2:09

Taurus 2:09

Capricorn 2:09



Leo 22:04

Aries 05:02

Sagittarius 05:02



Leo 05:02

Aries 22:04

Sagittarius 22:04

As you can see clearly in this grid, my Virgo Sun has two perfect trines. One can be found at 9 degrees 37 minutes Taurus. The other can be found at 9 degrees, 37 minutes Capricorn.

In the case of the Moon, I choose Leo twice. I do not choose a Sagittarius moon. Why discriminate against Sagittarius? In theory, you could choose Sagittarius in both cases. Both females would still make excellent mates. As a matter of practical expediency, I might be forced to switch to Sagittarius in order to be able to find a living prospect.

What I am doing in this case is putting an optimizing wrinkle in the compiler. I want to construct a near-conjunction between my Venus are her Moon at the same time that I create trine between my Moon and her Moon. This effectively doubles down the score. A conjunction between Venus and the Moon is seen as one of the most positive aspects for marriage. This is what a compiler designer would describe as a discrete optimization technique.

Since celestial mechanics allow the moon to be anywhere vis-à-vis the position of the Sun, I am going to take advantage of this fact to construct a better match up. For this reason, I chose Leo twice, and I bump it’s position over 5 degrees to aspect better with both my Moon and Venus at the same time.

In the case of Mercury, it is the same story as the Sun. I want a simple Trine by adding or subtracting 120 degrees. All three Earth signs have practical, level-headed, expedient, pragmatic, utilitarian, skill-based intelligences. We’re all a bunch of feet-on-ground types, although some would question that in my case. Just in case you were wondering, the laws of celestial mechanics dictate that Mercury can never be more than 28 degrees away from the Sun. Ergo, the simple Trine is best you're ever going to do here.

You have to remember, I am an air adept. I can get pretty theoretical and abstract if I want. I haven’t lost that ability.

Notice that neither of my theoretically perfect candidates has a Venus or Mars in Scorpio. I would be willing to accept that as a substitute if no closer match could be found in reality, however, we should not go looking for 90 degree square problems.

In the case of Venus and Mars, I’m going to put in another discrete optimization technique. As I have mentioned many times on this blog, the Conjunction of Mars and Venus between two charts is the most significant predictor or sexual attraction and sexual compatibility. Whenever you can find a conjunction between his Mars and her Venus, you can be sure they want each other badly.

It’s a similar story for the Trines, just not as overwhelming. When his Mars trines her Venus, you will find a smooth, easy, fun blend of the male and the female principles. Most failed couples will tell you that the smooth blend of the masculine and feminine is the toughest possible task to accomplish. You want this principle working for you, not against you. It is even better if her Mars trines his Venus at the same time. You can be sure they will both be crazy about each other then.

The formula is simple. You take his Venus position add or subtract 120 degrees, assign that to her Mars. You take his Mars position, tack on 120 and assign it to her Venus. Of course, the same technique works fine if you have a female client.


Q: Why pick Aries twice for the Taurus candidate?

A: Because my Mars and Venus are conjuncted, I figured it would work better if my perfect match were also conjuncted. Further, celestial mechanics dictate that the position of Venus can never be more than 48 degrees away from the Sun. Because Venus cannot be more than 48 degrees away from the Sun, a Taurus woman cannot have her Venus in Leo or Sagittarius. Aries becomes the only choice.

Q: Why pick Sagittarius Twice for the Capricorn candidate?

A: Same reason. A Capricorn cannot have her Venus in Leo or Aries. Given a Capricorn Sun, the only choice for a conjunction of Venus and Mars in Fire is Sagittarius.

Q: Wouldn’t a Taurus with Venus in Aries and Mars in Sagittarius be a great trine candidate?

A: Absolutely, but she wouldn’t be conjuncted as I am. This would make her a little less consistent, and a little more complicated. She would probably still drive me crazy. I would probably still love her to death.

Q: Wouldn’t a Taurus with Venus in Aries and Mars in Leo be a great trine candidate?

A: Yup, same deal as before, but possibly better. We might make her Mars conjunct my Venus in this case. That should drive her crazy. Incidentally, a batch of females like this were born on 5/10/1963. You can also find these split combos with Capricorn. The results will probably be equally good.

Q: Rather than picking Moon in Leo, shouldn’t you select Moon in Sagittarius in order to produce Trines between your Venus and her Moon?

A: You make a very good point. If we go consistently with Trines everywhere, her Moon should be in Sagittarius. This would probably produce fantastic results. Once again, I am putting in a discrete optimization wrinkle here. I’ve heard too many good things about Moon conjunct Venus to pass on this aspect without trying. I am prepared to adjust this Moon position to Sagittarius if no Moon in Leo candidates are alive and within practical age boundaries.

So do you know anybody resembling this profile?

It just so happens I do. As I mentioned once before on this blog, there is a certain Brazilian Taurus woman I know at work who was born on 5/8/1979. If we compare her to the abstract notion of perfection called Candidate A, we see some very interesting corollaries and differences.




Candidate A

Brazilian Taurus



Virgo 9:37

Taurus 9:37

Taurus 17:14



Aries 7:13

Leo 12:20

Libra 03:51



Virgo 2:09

Taurus 2:09

Aries 25:52



Leo 22:04

Aries 05:02

Aries 18:24



Leo 05:02

Aries 22:04

Aries 24:09

I don’t want to sound like Meatloaf, but 3 out of 5 ain’t bad. Her Sun position is off by less than 8 degrees. My Mars doesn’t precisely Trine her Venus. Her Mars is just 2 degrees away from a perfect trine with my Venus. We would always treat that as a Trine. According to the legend and lore, this would indicate that she is the pursuer and the party with cravings.

What about the Moon? Her Moon is just about perfectly opposed to my Moon. As you know, opposition is the most powerful aspect for attraction. However, opposition means opposition. She is a balanced peacemaker, emotionally speaking. I am a military war machine, emotionally speaking. Still, these two forces are powerfully attracted to each other. In terms of attraction, this will be stronger than a Trine. You might want to count this in her favor. It shouldn’t count against her.

The big problem is the Mercury sign. Mentally, the two of us a have a 130 degree sesquisquare. This would suggest a tremendous imbalance intellectually speaking. This could be the one and only big issue. She almost had a Taurus here, which would have been perfect. She missed the ideal by just 6 degrees.

Notwithstanding, you have to look at that grid with amazement. Any reasonably mature Astrologer would look at our two charts, raise an eyebrow, and wonder if she isn’t a God-given, custom tailored playmate for me. It is astounding that Sirus only grades her as a 231 point prospect. I still wonder why the score isn’t 639. Surely her score should be higher.

It is like a Finger Pointing Away to the Moon…

Don’t get hung up on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory. Don’t get hung up on the case of Dave and the Brazilian Taurus. Focus on the software engineer constructing his own synastry engine. The take home message is as follows

  1. Understand that I am designing and constructing of a logical expert system that will arrange planets on a chart to make a pair of theoretically perfect Trine companions for you, or anyone else.
  2. These two abstract charts are useful for comparison purposes. You can compare real-world charts to these two measuring sticks to see how closely the individual in question conforms to your theoretically perfect mates.
  3. You might not be able to find an exact match for either of your two theoretically perfect charts, but you should be able to get reasonably close.
  4. Understand that this abstract notion of perfection will resemble people who are alive and well today. You might even know someone who strongly resembles one of these two abstract charts, just as I do. With an adjustment here and there, said individual might be your most perfect available match.
  5. With some very hard work on the mathematics of celestial mechanics, it should be possible to compute the exact date when your theoretically perfect mates were or will be born. This does not mean they will be within striking range of your lifetime, but you just might have a lucky chart.

I think this will be a useful tool, and worth building.